Malcolm Maclachlan reports in the Daily Journal on speculation about Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointee for California Attorney General if, as is now likely, current Attorney General Xavier Becerra is confirmed as President Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The article says that Assemblyman Robert Bonta’s name “has become increasingly popular in the Capitol rumor mill,” but that there is still strong support for Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.

The article quotes At The Lectern’s Monday blog post about what happens to pending Supreme Court cases should Newsom choose Justice Liu, and also paraphrases the post as saying, “a springtime departure of a justice could create havoc among cases the court has already heard, possibly leading to ties and vacated cases.”

“Havoc” is an overstatement.  “Inconvenience” is more accurate.

The post said that the biggest problem for the court would be in already argued cases in which Justice Liu would have been the swing vote:

In any already argued case with the six remaining justices evenly divided, we’re guessing the court would vacate submission and schedule another argument, but not for a date until after the Governor appoints Justice Liu’s replacement.  As with other pending cases, the court would probably want to avoid having a pro tem justice cast a deciding vote.

The Daily Journal might be right that Assemblyman Bonta is the most probable Attorney General pick, but “havoc” at the court is likely not a negative factor for Justice Liu’s candidacy.


“Yale Law Classmates Goodwin Liu and Rob Bonta Vie, Through Friends, for Attorney General”